Bleeding Gums When Brushing- What Could it Mean?

Bleeding is something everyone is scared of!! Well, whether it’s bleeding gums or bleeding from somewhere else in the body, it causes blood loss ultimately. Bleeding shows some problem. It can occur due to underlying problem, trauma or many other reasons. Excess bleeding can cause anemia. Anemia then causes various signs and symptoms including fatigue, weakness etc. So, bleeding should be stopped by treating the cause.

Bleeding gums is one of the common problems. Gums can bleed during brushing. It can occur due to several reasons. Trauma from the toothbrush bristles can cause this. Swollen gums and inadequate plaque removal can cause bleeding gums. Everyone should know about the reasons of bleeding gums while brushing, and how to prevent this. By taking care of bleeding gums we can avoid many problems.

Causes of Bleeding Gums When Brushing and their Prevention

Brushing can cause bleeding from the gums. It can be due to trauma, gums problems, other diseases present in the body etc. To avoid bleeding, let’s know the various causes and prevention of them.

1. Inadequate Plaque Removal

It is one of the most common reason of many gums and teeth related problems. Most people fail to adequately remove the plaque. Adequate removal of plaque needs knowledge of proper brushing technique and other techniques to remove plaque daily. If the plaque accumulates daily, it then causes irritation to the gums. It also cause infection in the gums and underlying bone and ultimately leads to bleeding, swelling, pain and foul smell.

To remove the plaque daily, one needs proper brushing twice a day along with flossing. Apart from this chlorhexidine mouthwash also helps and keeps the mouth fresh. Everyone should visit to the dentist atleast once in every six months. Even we can keep a check on plaque removal. A two tone plaque disclosing solution dye is available in the market. This plaque disclosing solution colours the mature and immature plaque separately. By that we get to know which plaque is old and which is deposited recently. Accordingly we can keep a check and also maintain oral hygiene.

2. Trauma from Tooth Brush Bristles

This is also a very common cause of bleeding from the gums while brushing. There are many types of tooth brushes available in the market. According to the hardness of the bristles tooth brush can be with hard bristles, medium bristles, soft bristles, and ultrasoft bristles. Hard bristles cause more damage to both the teeth and the gums. So, one should not use brush with hard bristles. Routine use of them can cause loss of the enamel.

Inadvertent use of medium hard bristles containing tooth brush can cause trauma to the gums. So, one should avoid this. Soft and ultrasoft bristle containing tooth brush are good for teeth and gums. Everyone can use tooth brush with soft bristles. They help to adequately remove the plaque. Tooth brush with ultrasoft bristles are recommended especially for persons with gums and periodontal problem. So, one should choose the tooth brush according to the condition of the gums and teeth.

3. Inappropriate Brushing Technique

Wrong brushing technique can also cause bleeding from the gums. So, brushing technique should be proper. There are many brushing techniques. Brushing technique also differs based on the age of the person, the condition of the teeth etc. Mostly people just use the brush horizontally, scrub the teeth and brushing is done. This is not the proper method. This can also cause bleeding from the gums.

The most effective way of brushing in adults is vertical sweeping brushing technique. In this technique, the brush is kept near to the gums and vertical sweeping motion is directed to the bristles towards the edge of the teeth. This does not cause bleeding and adequately removes the plaque. People who already have gums and teeth problem, vibratory motion technique is best for them. The brush is kept on the teeth and vibrations are applied to the bristles. In children, rotary brushing technique is more effective. One can visit dentist and learn the proper brushing technique to prevent bleeding from the gums while brushing.

4. Chronic Gum Diseases (Gingivitis and Pyorrhoea)

Inflammation in the gums is also known as Gingivitis. Chronicity of gingivitis can cause pyorrhoea which includes foul smell, swollen gums, loose teeth and even pus formation. The most common cause of these gum problems also is plaque. In the presence of these gum disease, brushing can lead to bleeding. Bleeding occurs more, if inflammation is more. These gum diseases have periods of remission and exacerbation. At the time of exacerbation, bleeding occurs more.

To avoid these gum diseases, first of all daily oral hygiene maintenance is must. Even if the problem occurs, plaque and calculus removal by means of scaling etc can be done. In some chronic gum disease cases, recontouring of the gums is done to remove excess gum tissue and prevent plaque deposition.

5. Other Gum Diseases

Some acute gum diseases such as Desquamative gingivitis, Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis etc can occur, which cause pain, bleeding during brushing. These are very painful conditions. They also cause ulcer formation and redness along with burning sensation. Desquamative Gingivitis can occur in various autoimmune diseases which also usually involve skin such as Lichen planus, pemphigus etc. In this the superficial layer of the gums desquamates exposing the deeper layers, which causes pain, bleeding and difficulty in eating. This condition needs proper medical treatment with medications along with maintenance of oral hygiene. Soothing mouthwash helps in maintaining the hygiene and helps to reduce the pain.

Bacterial infection in the gums cause necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. Now a days it is more commonly seen in AIDS patients. This also causes bleeding while brushing along with ulcers, pain, foul smell and metallic taste in the mouth. In this case hydrogen peroxide mouthwash helps.

6. Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy which includes boggy and swollen gums, bleeding, soft and friable gums, and foul smell. This condition also aggravates in the presence of plaque. So, meticulous cleaning of teeth is necessary to maintain the oral hygiene. Treatment of this condition needs Vitamin C supplements. Citrus fruits such as lemon, orange etc contain plenty of vitamin C. So, everyone should include vitamin C rich foods in their diet to maintain both oral health and overall well- being.

7. Viral Infections

Viral infections such as Herpes are very common in children. Herpetic Gingivostomatitis in one of the very common infections usually seen in children. It also occurs in adults. In this condition, fluid filled blisters appears first which then rupture making ulcers. These ulcers are painful and bleeding occurs during brushing and even eating. Fever also occur before appearance of the blisters and may accompany them. As it is a viral infection, it goes away within 7- 10 days. Till then, to reduce pain topical analgesic ointments helps. Plenty of fluids should be given along with soft diet. Topical antiviral (Acyclovir) ointments also helps.

8. Bleeding Diseases

In the presence of bleeding diseases, even minor trauma from tooth brush bristles can induce bleeding. Low platelet count hampers proper clotting of blood. It is also known as thrombocytopenia. There are many conditions where low platelet count happens. So, they should be careful. This condition needs medical treatment.

Some hereditary bleeding diseases such as Haemophilia etc can also cause this. As in those conditions the blood clotting is not proper due to inadequate amount of clotting factors in the blood. So, in routine life they should care to reduce the chances of trauma. Other diseases where clotting factors are less or inadequate can also cause bleeding during brushing.

9. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes occur during puberty, pregnancy etc. These hormonal changes make the person more susceptible to local irritants such as- plaque, calculus etc. Plaque present on the teeth causes inflammation and swelling in the gums. The gums bleed during brushing or any other trauma. So, during pregnancy and puberty people should properly take care of their teeth.

10. Blood Cancer

In blood cancer such as Leukemia, the cancer cells may get deposit into the gums. These cells also hampers the clotting mechanism of the blood. In leukemia the gums looks bluish red and easily bleed during brushing etc. Even minor trauma can cause bleeding. So care should be taken to avoid trauma etc.

Bleeding gums while brushing commonly occurs due to trauma by bristles of the tooth brush. This is usually temporary in nature and occurs sometimes not always. There are some other conditions which can cause the same. These conditions include a variety of gum diseases, vitamin deficiency, bleeding diseases, cancer etc. So, one must know about all the reasons to avoid consequent problems. If bleeding gums are your daily problem, then you must consult your dentist for the diagnosis and proper treatment.

Gums play a major role in both oral and dental health and overall well-being. Healthy teeth make us feel good with sparkling smile and aesthetic look. If our teeth are healthy, we have a good confidence. This confidence even makes one work more efficiently and makes us more socially active. Have you ever noticed some people talk less outside than at their home and hide their teeth?? The reason behind hiding their teeth can be anything. Unaesthetic look due to stains, swollen gums or bleeding gums, mal- alignment of the teeth, broken teeth etc are some the reasons they hide form others.

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